Recap: Carlos Mare aka Mare139 Survey at Pratt Manhattan
Last July Pratt University mounted a comprehensive survey on Mare139 entitled “Art Is Study: 36 Years of Process & Influence,” spanning his adolescence as a train bomber to his development of Urban Modernism.
The exhibition was a thoughtfully curated and beautifully hung show displaying the full range of Mare’s artistic output from his days as a young boy sketching straight letters for Mom’n’Dad; to his collaborative pieces painted with other graff luminaries who he hung out with during the Golden Age of Subway Graffiti in the seventies and eighties; to his continuing exploration as an adult of wildstyle-as-abstraction in the medium of sculpture and hip hop gestural drawing, both of which fall into an ouvre he came to define as Urban Modernism. If there had been a catalog, he would also have had a chance to display his expository talents as an intellectual, activist and ambassador for the preservation and dissemination of the understanding of true Hip Hop subculture on an international mass cultural level.
The show was organized into four sections. The first was hung in a salon-style, or what could even be called a collage-style. It focused on graffiti motifs running the gamut from his early days as a graffiti artist up to his current adult obsessions with abstraction and modernism, and consisted of finished drawings, paintings and sculptures, as well as sketches, doodles, notes, cartoons, and paper maquettes. A second section, also hung collage style, displayed all his abstraction and modernist influences from over the years including photos of works by Tatlin and Stella, which were mixed in with photos and sketches of his own sculptural abstractions. A third section displays fully-realized metal and clay sculptures on the wall and on pedestals, and the fourth section contained a large selection of his Hip Hop gestural drawings, framed and unframed, hung in a grid pattern. The four sections are noted in the photo captions.
In totality this exhibition gave a succinct and yet also a detailed overview of the career of a modern master that has spanned the breadth of his graffiti art to his explorations of those discoveries applied to his modernist and abstraction-based obsessions.
Text + Photo: Daniel Feral (except for top photo from Mare)